Diesel Locomotives of Sri Lanka 
Locomotive classification


Main Line Locomotives (Diesel Electric)                 - Class M

Main Line Locomotives (Diesel Hydraulic)             - Class W

Suburban DMU's                                                          - Class S

Narrow Gauge                                                               - Class N & P

Shunters                                                                        - Class Y



M Class Locomotives


Brush Bagnall (British) 1,000hp. Currently not in service, 25 locomotives were imported to Sri Lanka from 1953 onwards. Phasing out of service started in 1983. Most of the locomotives are scrapped and a few remains beyond salvagable condition in Ratmalana workshop.

One locomotive No. 560 is parked in Running Shed Dematagoda almost intact, which could be restored back to running condition.

 Visit Brushlanka website for further information

Builder       : Brush Bagnall UK

Weight       : 88 tons

Power        : 1000hp Mirrlees V12 JS12VT (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 25 



sub class (M2a, M2b, M2c, M2d) 


General Motors (Canada) GM-567 1,425hp Imported to Sri Lanka from 1954 onwards. The most efficient locomotive in the SL Roster. Almost all locomotives are still operational.


Visit  Gyan Fernando's website on SL Railways (M2 Fan).

Builder          : General Motors Canada

Weight           : 79 tons

Power            : 1425hp GM V12 12-567c (2 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 14


Image provided with courtesy of Ceylon Railway Museum

Locally Manufactured 'Jayanthi' Class locomotive. 2 engines (180hp x 2) taken from Class S1 was used for this locomotive. Locomotive is non operational and scrapped.

Builder          : Sri Lanka Railway

Weight         : 46 tons

Power          : English Electric 6 cylinder 180hp x 2 (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 2


MLW (Canada) Alco Bombardier MX620. Longest locomotive in the SL Roster. Imported 1975 onwards Still operational.

Builder         : Montreal Locomotive Works Canada

Weight        : 93 tons

Power         : 1750hp Alco Bombardier V12 12-251C3 (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 14


Hitachi (Japan) 1600hp. Imported to Sri Lanka in 1979. Some locomotives repowered with Paxman engines classified as M5B. Some with "Caterpillar" 3516 DITA engines and re-classified as M5C. Still in operation

Builder          : Hitachi Japan

Weight         : 66tons

Power           : 1640 MTU-Ikegai V12 12V652TD11 (4 stroke)

                     M5A - 1150hp MTU V12 (4 stroke)

                     M5B - 1150hp PAXMAN Velanta V12 (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 16


Henschel Thyssen (Kassel W.Germany). 1650hp. Imported to Sri Lanka in 1979. Still in operation.

Builder              : Henschel-Thyssen Germany

Weight              : 87 tons

Power               : 1650hp GENERAL MOTORS V12 12-645E (2 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 16



Brush Bagnall (British). 1000hp. Imported in 1981 to coincide with Queen"s visit to the Island. Still in operation.

Builder               : Brush UK

Weight               : 67 tons

Power                : 1000hp GENERAL MOTORS V8 8-645E (2 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 16


sub class (M8a)


WDM2 (Varanasi India). 2600hp. First batch Imported in 1996. Second batch classified as M8A Slightly shorter in length than the first batch. Still in operation.

Builder              : Diesel locomotive works Varanasi India

Weight              : 110 tons

Power               : 2600hp ALCO V16 (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 10


Alsthom (France). 1800hp. Imported to Sri Lanka in 2000. This locomotive faced various problems (electrical/mechanical) initially, now somewhat slowly adapting to the local environment. In operation.

10 Locomotives were imported to Sri Lanka. Currently only 3 locomotives are in running condition.

Builder                           : Alstom France

Weight                          : 100.56 tons

Power                           : 3220hp derated to 1800hp ALSTOM RUSHTON DIESEL 12 RK 215T (4 stroke)

Rated rpm                      : 1000 rpm

Idle rpm                        : 400 rpm

Max speed                     : 110km/h

Axle load                       : 16.76tons

Fuel tank capacity          : 5000 litres

Sand box capacity          : 480 litres

Minimum curve radius      : 100m

Total number of locomotives = 10

W Class Locomotives



Henschel Thyssen (W.German). 1150hp. Imported in 1969. 10 locomotives were completely rehabilitated with Caterpillar 3512 DITA Engines, Voith L 520 Transmission with dynamic braking added to transmission. Also colour scheme changed to blue & white. Rehabilitated locomotives were re-classified as W3. In operation.

Builder              : Henschel Thyssen Germany

Weight             : 61 tons

Power              W1 : 1150hp Paxman V12 12YJXL (4 stroke)

                      W3 : 1100hp CAT 3512 DITA V12  (4 stroke)

                      Transmission - VOITH L 520 R U2

L    - Locomotive transmission
5    - Circuit size index
2    - No of Torque converters
0    - No of fluid coupling
R    - Reversing
U2  - Model No

Total number of locomotives = 45                                       




Karl Marx Werks (E. Germany). 1500hp. Imported in 1969. In operation.

Builder               : VEB

Weight              : 65tons

Power               : 1578hp PAXMAN V16 16YJXL (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 15


S Class Locomotives (DMU's)


English Electric (British) Powered set. Two 180hp engines per locomotive. Not in operation and the locomotives were scrapped due to the heavy corrosion incurred running on the coastal line. Engines were installed in M3 Locomotive.

Builder               : English Electric

Weight              : 94 tons

Power               : English electric 180hp 6 cylinder x 2 (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 3


Schindler (German) Diesel Hydraulic. 790hp (4 stroke). Imported in the 1950"s Non operational.

Total number of locomotives = 15


Machinenfabrik (German) Diesel Hydraulic. 880hp. Imported in the 1960's Non operational.

1 DMU is in operation running local service between Galle & Matara

Builder               : MAN Germany

Weight              : 47 tons

Power               : 880hp MAN V12 L12V18./21 (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 25


Machinenfabrik (German) Diesel Hydraulic. 1000hp (4 stroke). Imported in the 1960"s Non operational.

Total number of locomotives = 5


Hitachi (Japan), 775hp (4 stroke). Diesel Hydraulic. Tourist excursion train. In service

Builder             : Hitachi Japan

Weight            : 158 tons (total train with coaches) 

Total number of locomotives = 4


Hitachi (Japan), 1165hp. Diesel Hydraulic. Imported in 1975. Operational mainly on the recently Broad gauged "Kaleni Valley" Line.

Builder          : Hitachi Japan

Weight         : 51 tons powered unit only

Power          : 1165hp Paxman V12-12YJXL (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 10


Hitachi (Japan), 1020hp. Diesel Hydraulic. Very similar in appearence to S6. Operational mainly on the Broad gauged "Kaleni Valley" line, with limited runs on the mainline on less peak time. Imported in 1977.

Builder         : Hitachi Japan

Weight         : 54 tons powered unit only

Power          : 1020hp Cummings V8 KTA-2300 (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 10


Hyundai (Korean), 1150hp (4 stroke). Diesel Hydraulic. Imported in 1989. Currently In operation. This DMU has a remarkably high acceleration rate from zero to 60mph.

Builder          : Hyundai Korea

Weight         : 55 tons powered unit only

Total number of locomotives = 20


Chinese MTU, Diesel Electric 1150hp (4 stroke). Imported in 2000. Currently in operation. Capable of running with Electrified overhead cables (Pantographs not installed in local units). Driver has a VDU with engine status indication.

Total number of locomotives = 15


N & P Class Locomotives (Narrow gauge locomotives)


KRUPP (W.German). Imported in 1953. Not in operation. Diesel Hydraulic 490hp

Total number of locomotives = 5



KAWASAKI (Japan). Imported in 1973. Not in operation. Diesel Hydraulic 600hp

Total number of locomotives = 3



HUNSLET (British). Imported in 1950. Not in operation.
One Locomotive was acquired by Colombo Municipal and was used as an amusement park train in "Viharamahadevi Park" Colombo. Currently seems to be in abandoned status.

Mechanical transmission, 130hp

Total number of locomotives = 4



Y Class Locomotives (Shunters)


HUNSLET (British). Imported in 1969. In operation. Diesel Hydraulic 530hp

Builder       : Hunslet UK

Weight       : 45 tons

Power           : 530hp Rolls-Royce V8 DV 8T (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 28



Sri Lankan Railway Built. Manufactured 1972 Not in use - Diesel Hydraulic 1000hp. Same powerplant as S6 and W3 used (Paxman 12YJXL)

Builder          : Srilanka Railway

Weight         : 52 tons

Power          : 1000hp Paxman V12 12YJXL (4 stroke)

Total number of locomotives = 7


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